Ukraine war: is the counter-offensive beginning now?

Statements by Ukraine: will the counter-offensive begin now?

From dpa, afp, rtr, t-online

Updated on 05/27/2023 – 20:43Reading time: 44 mins

war crimes? This is how the Ukrainian President Zelenskyj describes this attack on a clinic. (Source: Reuters)
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Day 458 since the beginning of the war: Russia reports a drone attack on the Russian region of Pskov near Belarus. Germany sends Patriot missiles to Lithuania. All information in the news blog.

The most important things at a glance

Ukraine signals imminent counteroffensive

8.30 p.m.: High-ranking representatives of Ukraine indicate that the counterattack to recapture Russian-held areas will soon begin. The offensive could begin “tomorrow, the day after or in a week,” National Security Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov told the BBC.

The Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valery Zalushny, posted a video online showing Ukrainian soldiers taking an oath and preparing for battle, writing: “The time has come to take back what is ours.” Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak tells the Guardian that preparatory operations such as the destruction of Russian depots and supply routes have already begun.

Russian authorities report two dead in attacks in regions bordering Ukraine

7:33 p.m.: According to the local authorities, at least two people were killed when Russian border regions with Ukraine were shelled again on Saturday. A security guard was killed and other people wounded in an attack in the area around Schebekino in the Belgorod region, said Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov. In the Kursk region, according to Governor Roman Starovoit, a construction worker was killed by shellfire.

Moscow blames Kyiv and its Western backers for the increased number of attacks and acts of sabotage. Ukraine has denied any involvement.

Kiev’s secret service admits involvement in Crimean bridge attack

3:01 p.m.: More than seven months after the explosion on the Crimean bridge, Ukrainian intelligence chief Vasyl Malyuk officially confirmed Kiev’s involvement in it for the first time. “Since this is a logistic route that we had to cut off from the enemy, appropriate measures were taken,” the head of the domestic intelligence service SBU said in a YouTube interview with Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Komarov.

Maljuk did not give details of the operation. He said of the attack that Ukraine had acted in accordance with “traditions of warfare”. The images of the fire on the bridge resulting from the explosion on October 8 – the night after Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday – went around the world. Read more about the explosion here.

Flames and smoke after the Crimean bridge explosion (archive photo): Months after the explosion, the Ukrainian secret service officially confirmed Kiev's involvement.
Flames and smoke after the Crimean bridge explosion (archive photo): Months after the explosion, the Ukrainian secret service officially confirmed Kiev’s involvement. (Source: Uncredited/AP/dpa)

Western secret services have also assumed that Ukraine was involved. Maljuk had only hinted in December that Ukraine might have something to do with it. Now he confirmed it. Moscow blamed the Ukrainian military intelligence service for the attack. The bridge, which was closed for days but has now been repaired, leading from the Russian mainland to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, is considered an important supply route for the war against Ukraine.

Apparently, drone attacks on the Druzhba oil pipeline

1:35 p.m.: According to media reports, two drones attacked the Druzhba oil pipeline in northwestern Russia. The incident happened in the Tver region, reports the Russian newspaper Kommersant, citing reports on social media.

The region is north of Moscow and borders on the Pskov region in the north-west. From there, a drone attack on a pipeline administration building was reported. Pskov, in turn, borders Belarus, Latvia and Estonia. Neither Pskov nor Tver share a border with Ukraine.

China at the end of the war: Will make concrete proposals

11.11 a.m.: According to its special envoy Li Hui, China intends to work seriously towards a political solution to the Ukraine crisis and to submit concrete proposals for this. The Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted the Chinese government’s special envoy for Eurasian affairs as saying that China will promote exchange and dialogue between all parties involved – including Russia.

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